I've been wanting to try my hand at some fan art by doing an illustration to go with Cornelia Funke's new dark fairy tale series, but it's been so long since I painted anything (two months? how did that happen?) that I thought I'd better get my eye and hand back in working order first, so I backed off of complex and opted for still life for today.
I was inspired by this block print, May's calendar illustration, by American Arts and Crafts artist William S. Rice.
The nasturtiums in my yard have been so magnificent this year that I decided to preserve a few of them on paper as a way back in. The rose bowl vase that holds them is nearly impossible to duplicate in watercolor, because it's irridescent glass with an intricate incised floral pattern; so I just went for the color, which is a reflective turquoise-y green, and tried for the feel of glass by preserving some highlights. Perhaps I will paint it differently someday, but for this picture I didn't want the vase to take center stage, I wanted the nasturtiums to be the focus. For this one, I abandoned my latest style/tool (drawing in pen) and went back to pencil to give a softer, more natural feel. The pencil around the edges erased, but stayed visible wherever it was painted over, but it doesn't really bother me. I don't feel like I captured those characteristic nasturtium leaves as well as I managed the ruffly flowers, but I enjoyed focusing closely on these beautiful, vibrant flowers for a couple of hours.
I don't really know why it took me two months to get back to my paints; I'd say lack of time, but that's not really true--we make time for what we want to do, and I certainly spent many hours reading that I could have been painting. I never have understood the reluctance to commit time to something that I enjoy so much once in the midst of it, but I hope not to interrupt momentum for such a lengthy period again.